Cinema Akil - Opening Programme

After launching in 2014 and hosting pop up film screenings in Dubai, Cinema Akil will open its door to a 133 seater cinema space in Al Serkal Avenue on September 28. This is a good cinema addition in Dubai, and after all the stand alone cinemas have been demolished, it’s nice to have a new independently run cinema in the city. I did, however, notice a few headlines and social media posts stating Cinema Akil is the first ‘arthouse cinema’ in Dubai which is inaccurate. The Picturehouse, at Reel Cinemas in Dubai Mall opened in 2009, it ran for a few years (you can read old posts about some of the film screenings that happened there), but it was the first cinema space in Dubai that opened to show small/independent films from around the world.

Cinema Akil’s opening line up of films between September 28 and October 31 has been announced and it includes a selection of international films and documentaries, plus a handful of classic films.

Marketed as “Independent Film. Every Night.”, there will be 2-3 films screening every night, depending on the day of the week. Tickets can be bought at the venue, but there are no ticket prices listed on the website.

Overall, the opening program is focused on recently acclaimed films that premiered at various film festivals this year, so this is a good opportunity to watch them on the big screen in Dubai. Here’s the line up of films and you can see a calendar version of the schedule here.

  • September 28 - October 12: Yomeddine (Abu Bakr Shawky, 2018)

  • September 28 - October 5: McQueen (Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui, 2018)

  • October 3 and 6: The Color of Pomegranates (Sergei Parajanov, 1969)

  • October 5 - 18: Dogman (Matteo Garrone, 2018)

  • October 10 and 13: In Syria (Philippe Van Leeuw, 2017)

  • October 12 - 19: The Old Man and the Gun (David Lowery, 2018)*

  • October 17 and 20: The Adventures of Prince Ahmed (Lotte Reiniger, 1926)

  • October 19 - 30: Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2018)

  • October 19 - 26: Skate Kitchen (Crystal Moselle, 2018)

  • October 24 and 27: Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (Sophie Fiennes, 2017)

  • October 26 - 31: Summer of 84 (Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell, 2018)

  • October 31: The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)

If I was asked to choose one film to recommend, I’d say don’t miss Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War. A love story during times of political persecution in Poland. It’s beautiful but incredibly sad, every frame in this the black and white film looks impeccable. The film received an award for Best Director at Cannes and has been selected as the Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards (Pawlikowski’s previous film, Ida won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015).

*The Old Man and the Gun is scheduled to get a wide cinema release in the UAE from October 18.